Avigdor Liberman, head of the Yisrael Beitenu party slammed his current political nemesis, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, by calling him a “false Messiah.”
In an interview with Ben Caspit published on Wednesday in the Hebrew-language news service, Maariv, Liberman had many bad things to say about his former long-time political ally.
“The friends [Netanyahu] had from his university years, from his time in the IDF, from politics, not a single one stuck by him,” he said. “All this time in power [as] prime minister must ruin your humanity.”
This is certainly true of Liberman, a Soviet-born Israeli politician who was a close political ally of Netanyahu since 1988, leaving the Likud in 1999 to form his own party. Right-wing, Liberman is anti-ultra-Orthodox but hawkish on defense. Lieberman was appointed Minister of Defense in May 2016 resigned on 14 November 2018 in protest of the ceasefire with Hamas. His break with Netanyahu led to the dissolution of the coalition and early elections. In the attempts to form a coalition after the last three elections, Lieberman, with seven seats, refused to join a coalition that included either the ultra-orthodox or the Arab parties.
“You have to understand something. This man, Benjamin Netanyahu, has nothing to do with the right. He represents the absolute, purest, most raw opportunism. One time he speaks about Bar-Ilan’s speech and another time talks about annexation. My historic mission is to liberate the right and return it to its roots; to the state, liberal, sane. He made the right-wing populist, opportunistic, messianic and ultra-Orthodox. ”
“His ‘Hasidim’ (followers) including senior news reporters, see him as the Messiah, calling him the emissary of God. They say God touched him.”
“You have to understand something. This man, Binyamin Netanyahu, has nothing to do with the right. He represents the absolute, purest, most raw opportunism,” Liberman continued. “The man is a false messiah. He is the Shabbetai Zevi of the right. Instead of revisionism, he brought opportunism. Heis the Shabbetai Tzvi of the right-wing.”
Shabbetai Tzvi was a kabbalist in the 17th Century who founded a movement in which he claimed to be the Jewish Messiah. He was imprisoned and threatened with death by the Ottoman sultan but chose to convert to Islam.